Monday, March 07, 2016

30 questions: a Website Checklist for Artists

Do you know what questions to ask when considering what to do about your artist's website - and whether or not it needs improving? Working your way through the 30 questions in this post will give you a "to do" list for improvements you need to work on.

I look at a lot of websites while writing this blog. Some of them are very good, some are shambolic and a lot could be improved in both major and minor ways.

Sometimes the changes that need to be made to make it a much more effective website are very simple and easy to do. Sometimes they require a bit more effort to get a payback.

This post is NOT about which website host or builder to use.

WHAT THIS POST IS ABOUT is:
  • how you communicate about yourself as an artist - and your art 
  • whether you share the content of your website efficiently and effectively
  • whether you control the content of your website
When you get to the end you may want to consult the pages listed at the end to find out more about things to think about when developing or improving a website.

CHECKLIST: 30 Questions about your artist's website


Try asking yourself these questions and see how many you can say "YES" to

Communication 

  • Have I told people what my name is?
  • Have I told people who I am - and why I make my kind of art? (Have you told the story of you?)
  • Have I told people how to contact me?
  • Is my website simple and easy to read? (see Writing for the Web)

Domain Name URL

  • Does my domain name identify me by name? (Using your own name for your domain name is by far the fastest way of making sure potential future galleries or collectors can find you easily online).
  • When I google my name do I see my website on the first page of Google? (A real test can only be conducted on a machine unconnected to you. To find out whether this happens borrow somebody's smartphone and google your own name. 

Context

  • Can people tell which country I live in?
  • Have I told people where they can see my art in person
    • on my website?
    • online elsewhere?
    • in galleries?

Images

  • Are my images of art good enough to make people want to show/buy them? (i.e. sharp, in focus and colour cast is absent)?
  • Are my images organised properly? (i.e. If looking at a gallery of images do I see a virtual exhibition on a theme? Or are my images added as I complete them?)
  • Are my images big enough for people to be able to see clearly what kind of art I produce?
  • Are my images saved in a format which means they load very fast?
  • Have I made sure that my images never ever look fuzzy and out of focus (i.e. Have I checked whether my images look good on large, medium and small size screens)
  • Have I given all my images 'alt tags' so Google can read what they are?

Selling Art

  • Do I tell people how they can buy my art?
  • Do I share - or give an indication of - the prices of my artwork?

Social Media

  • Have I linked my website to my social media accounts?
  • Have I linked my social media accounts to my website (e.g. Is your website URL listed on your 'about' / profile page)

Navigation

  • Is my site easy to navigate?
  • Can visitors to my website find their way back to the Home Page easily - from any page on the website? (i.e. Is a Home button visible on each page?)

Software

  • Have I ditched "Flash" for my website (because Google can't read it and iPads refuse to allow it)
  • Have I made sure that my website is mobile compatible and can be read easily on every size of screen? (i.e. it avoids 'Mobilegeddon" through the use of CSS templates which separate website content from website formats)

Browsers

  • Have I checked out how my website looks 
    • in different browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer)
    • in the mobile app version of those browsers?

Operation

  • Have I learned how my website operates?
  • Can I upload and change images on my website by myself?
  • Can I add in new pages and/or new text by myself?

Control

  • EITHER: Do I control my own website i.e. can I change the content at any time?
  • OR: Can I exercise sufficient control over my own website content? (In essence:
    • I employ somebody who does what I ask when I ask them AND
    • I avoid being a hostage to fortune - if the person who manages my website for me fails to perform - because I can exit from current website arrangements any time with my website content intact 
  • OR Do I know what to do if the person who manages my website stops communicating with me? (It happens - and has happened to more than a few artists I know!)
You may find Options for developing an artist's website helpful in deciding what your next website should be like

Advertising

  • Have I eliminated all free advertising from my website?

Google

  • Am I certain that Google will index the content on my site? 

Websites for Artists


These are the pages I've developed to date to help artists improve their websites.
or their artist statement

The Home Page of Art Business Info for Artists

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